Udaya Soundari is the first to win three awards at Pradhana Vizha

Udaya Soundari with two of the three awards she won at Pradhana Vizha. -- PHOTO: MEDIACORP
Udaya Soundari with two of the three awards she won at Pradhana Vizha. -- PHOTO: MEDIACORP

She is the first to win three awards at ceremony honouring the best in local Indian TV

Local actress-host Udaya Soundari has made local Tamil TV history - she is the first person to win three awards in one year at Pradhana Vizha, an annual ceremony which honours the best in local Indian television.

The bubbly 26-year-old won the titles for Best Actress, Best Host (Info-Ed) and Most Popular Female Personality, but missed out on her fourth nomination for Best Host (Variety).

"It was unexpected, definitely. It's like nobody wins more than one award at Pradhana, up till 2012, when actor Vadi PVSS won two awards. I was like, 'What? Three awards?' I'm still in shock," she says.

Pradhana Vizha, now in its 14th year, is Vasantham Central's equivalent of Channel 8's Star Awards and was held last Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore.

There were 27 winners this year. Among them were Yasini Murugayah, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the drama Vanjam, and Siva Kuma, who won Best Supporting Actor for his role in the drama Nasi Briyani.

MediaCorp Eaglevision's drama Veethi Verai (2013) produced the most winners at the awards, helping Sivakumar Palakrishnan clinch the Best Actor award and V. Mohan for the Best Actor/Actress In A Villain Role.

The show, which also bagged awards for Best Drama Series and Best Videography (Drama), also helped Udaya win Best Actress.

Udaya, who credits Veethi Verai's director Vel Murugan for helping her win the award, says: "He must have done something right. The show comprised a few short stories, but the best actress, actor and villain were from the episode he directed."

The episode she speaks of told the story of a girl sexually abused by her stepfather and the devastating consequences for the family.

Udaya says: "The whole series was very intense. Vel used to say, 'You are only at 70 per cent, but I know you can do it.' I didn't know what he was asking for, but he talked me through it. I would spend hours to figure out what he wanted. Every shot was taken with a lot of effort."

Udaya got her break in the local television industry in 2007 as a contestant on reality TV singing competition Vasantham Star, in which she made it to the top 10.

After the show wrapped, she tried her hand at acting by taking on a small role in the Vasantham thriller Mudivu in 2008 and hosting dance competition Dhool alongside seasoned actor Vadi PVSS that same year.

Udaya says of her former co-host Vadi: "Dhool got me recognised as a host, and I have to thank Vadi. He was more casual in his sense of timing and delivery of his jokes. I learnt my hosting style mostly from him."

Since then, she has acted in and hosted a variety of shows aired on Vasantham, including hosting infotainment show Neenga Readiya (2012) and travel show Rayil Sneham (2011), as well as starring in family drama Riya (2011) and crime thriller Savithri (2011).

Udaya, who is single, says: "I've been blessed as an actress, in every project I've worked, it has been with a different director and in different styles. That has contributed to the kind of actress that I've become."